A collection of papers that comprehensively describe the major areas of research on lipid metabolism of plants. State-of-the-art knowledge about research on fatty acid and glycerolipid biosynthesis, isoprenoid metabolism, membrane structure and organization, lipid oxidation and degradation, lipids as intracellular and extracellular messengers, lipids and environment, oil seeds and gene technology is reviewed. The different topics covered show that modern tools of plant cellular and molecular biology, as well as molecular genetics, have been recently used to characterize several key enzymes of plant lipid metabolism (in particular, desaturases, thioesterases, fatty acid synthetase) and to isolate corresponding cDNAs and genomic clones, allowing the use of genetic engineering methods to modify the composition of membranes or storage lipids. These findings open fascinating perspectives, both for establishing the roles of lipids in membrane function and intracellular signalling and for adapting the composition of seed oil to the industrial needs. This book will be a good reference source for research scientists, advanced students and industrialists wishing to follow the considerable progress made in recent years on plant lipid metabolism and to envision the new opportunities offered by genetic engineering for the development of novel oil seeds.